Solar Power Systems

Rooftop Solar Panels : Financing Can Be Easier Than You Think

by Mary Butler

If it's the cost of rooftop solar panels that's keeping you from going green, think again. Not only are there federal and state financial subsidies and rebates available, but average homeowners can more easily and affordably finance solar power systems than ever before, thanks to a variety of new programs.

Research Rebates for Home Energy Efficiency
Depending on where you live, you could buy your rooftop solar panels for less than 50 percent of their cost. Through the end of 2008, the federal government is offering a $2,000 tax credit to those who install solar power systems, and legislators are considering extending the credit and upping it to $4,000.
State governments similarly offer rebates and subsidies, and some city governments are getting into the energy efficiency game as well, knocking thousands of dollars off your final cost. Check the online Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy to learn more about financial incentives that might benefit you.
Contact your local electric utility to inquire about other options that might exist for financing solar panels. As demand rises for electricity, utilities must contemplate the expensive proposition of adding capacity to plants. Residential solar power can help offset demand--and delay the need to expand power plants, which is a powerful incentive to encourage customers to try solar power.

Consider Creative Solar Panel Solutions

  • Roll the cost of your solar panels into your mortgage. The Federal Housing Authority offers energy efficient mortgages, which allow homebuyers to take out larger loans to pay for improvements to increase a home's energy efficiency.  
  • Rent your solar panels. Companies are cropping up that allow you to pay a locked-in rent based on your average energy consumption. Rent typically includes installation and maintenance and can be negotiated for as long as 25 years.

Of course, you should also consider traditional financing options, such as home equity loans and second mortgages. Low-interest rates combined with government financial incentives--and your savings in energy bills--can make adding solar panels to your home affordable and more than worthwhile.

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